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Driverless cars: New report highlights key challenges ahead of UK rollout

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The Shift Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Report highlights a range of key issues such as a lack of charging infrastructure and issues when interacting with other vehicles. The report uses in-depth modelling to predict the impact of letting driverless vehicles loose on the roads and has highlighted some major issues.

The case study looked at a driverless vehicle picking up customers at various locations before dropping them off at a destination.

It is expected these driverless taxi services will be the first dip into driverless vehicles before private cars can be looked at.

However, according to the study problems included “coping with vehicle downtime, charging infrastructure, interaction with existing public transport, the optimal fleet size and reducing vehicle mileage by anticipating future demand.”

The report found autonomous vehicles would have a “limited travel range” which could limit the number of journeys made.

READ MORE: Desperate bid to bring driverless cars to the UK – tests underway

The report also measured the relative energy consumption of driverless vehicles compared to existing public transport and was shocked by the results.

Connected and Autonomous vehicles recorded an average consumption of over 8,000 WHr/km compared to just over 2,000 WHr/km from private cars.

Rail and bus consumption was just under 1,000 WHr/km with the report stating the high consumption reflects the “increased complexity of fleet management operations.”

The high energy consumption is sure to be a barrier to the widespread adoption of driverless vehicles in city centres with many adopting a clean energy approach.

“The knowledge gap has previously been how autonomous vehicles impact the area where they are deployed, but with Shift we have been able to begin to understand the nuts and bolts of real-world deployment.

“The outputs of Shift will enable any third party – from OEMs through to owners and operators – to deploy autonomous services in an urban environment in a way that suits their business model.

“This is the key to unlocking the true potential of autonomy.”



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